Issue Briefs

The use of ADR has had a powerful impact on federal agencies’ EEO complaint inventories and, in turn, EEOC’s hearings and appeals inventories. Resolving disputes as early as possible in the Federal sector EEO process will improve the work environment and reduce the number of formal complaints, allowing all agencies, including the EEOC, to redeploy resources otherwise devoted to these activities. We will continue to promote the increased use of ADR techniques at the pre-complaint stage in the federal sector; the stage before a formal complaint is filed with a federal agency. As more agencies expand their efforts to offer ADR during the informal process, we expect to see continued decreases in the number of formal complaints filed, which will reduce costs for complainants and all federal agencies, enabling agencies to focus resources on their primary mission.

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One of the most important aspects of our federal sector program is our responsibility for oversight of federal agencies’ EEO programs. Using targeted EEO program evaluations, and the self-assessment tools and checklists in MD-715, we will help federal agencies assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their EEO programs and identify whether there are barriers precluding them from effectively utilizing their entire workforce in accomplishing their missions. We will periodically issue evaluative reports on a wide variety of topics in order to share government-wide, as appropriate, valuable information to assist agencies in developing model EEO programs. Similarly, we will provide agencies with trend analysis of the data submitted pursuant to their annual MD-715 report submissions to help agencies better identify and eliminate barriers to equal employment opportunity.

During fiscal year 2008, we continued to provide training and technical assistance to agencies on all aspects of their affirmative employment programs. During the year, we maintained our partnership with selected federal agencies in the Relationship Management project to explore new ways for our federal sector staff to interact with agencies to ensure that we can assist them in fostering an inclusive work culture and successfully implementing the essential elements of a model EEO program. Applying the strategies and tools developed from the experiences of the relationship management project, we will be in a position to better establish a customer-oriented organization which can deliver relevant information and solutions to federal agencies’ leadership.

Table 8: Hearings Workload Projections

Workload

FY 2008

(Actual)

FY 2009

(Estimate)

FY 2010

(Estimate)

FY 2011

(Estimate)

FY 2012

(Estimate)

FY 2013

(Estimate)

Hearings Pending

5,748

6,488

6,539

6,590

6,641

6,692

Hearings Requests Received

8,036

7,871

7,871

7,871

7,871

7,871

Hearings Requests Consolidated After Initial Processing

-158

-153

-153

-153

-153

-153

Total Workload

13,626

14,206

14,257

14,308

14,359

14,410

Hearings Resolved

7,138

7,667

7,667

7,667

7,667

7,667

Hearings carried forward

6,488

6,539

6,590

6,641

6,692

6,743

Table 9: Appeals Workload Projections

Workload

FY 2008

(Actual)

FY 2009

(Estimate)

FY 2010

(Estimate)

FY 2011

(Estimate)

FY 2012

(Estimate)

FY 2013

(Estimate)

Appeals Pending

3,496

3,275

2,994

2,847

3,001

3,475

Appeals Received

5,082

5,031

4,981

4,931

4,882

4,833

Total Workload

8,578

8,306

7,975

7,778

7,883

8,308

Appeals Resolved

5,303

5,312

5,128

4,777

4,408

4,039

Appeals carried forward

3,275

2,994

2,847

3,001

3,475

4,269

Management Directive 715 (MD-715) embodies the EEOC-championed approach toward creating a barrier-free, level playing field throughout the federal government. MD-715 is the roadmap for agencies to identify and remove barriers to equal employment opportunity so that the American people can have a model federal work force.

To help agencies fulfill their reporting requirements under MD-715, we will provide them the tools and assistance for analyzing their work forces and uncovering barriers to equal employment opportunities. Once barriers are identified by agencies, we collaborate with them to develop creative strategies to eliminate or reduce the impact of identified obstacles. Further, we work with agencies to promote workplace policies and practices that foster an inclusive work culture and prevent employment discrimination.

In fiscal year 2007, the EEOC provided feedback in the form of a 3-year trend analysis to 20% of all agencies reporting under MD-715. Whereas in past years these feedback letters focused on select key elements of a Model EEO Program, the 3-year trend analysis letters address all MD-715 elements, and provide a comprehensive analysis that tracks each reviewed agency’s progress toward establishing a Model EEO Program. The Commission will continue to provide these trend letters to agencies on a rotating basis. In fiscal year 2008, the Office of Federal Operations (OFO) also rolled out a new feedback mechanism aimed at holding agencies accountable for their progress on the MD-715 model EEO program elements. This endeavor, the EEO Program Compliance Assessment (EPCA), is a type of scorecard in which OFO provided agency-specific workforce analyses based on race, national origin, and gender as well as targeted disabilities. These analyses show the composition of the agency’s workforce by major occupation and compare it to the civilian labor force. Additionally, this tool provides agencies an odds ratio analysis of promotions in the senior grade levels, and shows agencies how they compare to the federal government as a whole on various workplaces climate issues.

Outreach

We will continue our outreach, education, and technical assistance programs to meet the needs of diverse audiences and will partner with the employer community and other stakeholders to foster strategies to recognize and prevent discrimination in the workplace.

The EEOC will continue to enhance public awareness of the persistence of race discrimination in employment through training, technical assistance materials, and partnerships with employee advocates, human resource professionals, and employer groups. We will continue to educate employers and other members of the public about systemic discrimination, including trends and issues that the agency has identified and cases the agency has handled. We recognize the value of publicizing our systemic discrimination court victories because of the ripple effect such decisions can have on promoting changes both across the impacted industry and in related industries.

We will continue to issue and revise regulations and sub-regulatory documents, such as EEOC enforcement guidance and technical assistance publications, in response to developments in the courts and stakeholder needs. We will also continue our outreach efforts to provide guidance and information on employer "best practices". The agency also will maintain its outreach to small businesses, especially those who lack the resources to maintain full-time professional human resources staff, and to stakeholders in under served communities across the nation, including those with limited English proficiency, such as recently arrived immigrants. Finally, we remain prepared to respond to unanticipated issues that arise in the workplace due to current events, so that EEOC stays on the forefront in informing both employees and employers alike of their rights and responsibilities in the ever-changing workplace environment.

Revolving Fund – Education, Technical Assistance and Training

The EEOC Training Institute (revolving fund) is a separate statutory authority that enables the EEOC to offer in-depth and specialized fee-based programs to supplement those general non fee-based informational and outreach activities that are an ongoing aspect of EEOC’s mission. The Training Institute offers diverse, high quality, reasonably priced EEO expertise and training products to private sector employers, state and local government personnel, and employees of federal agencies.

Technical Assistance Program (TAP) Seminars:

National Federal Sector Conference:

Customer-Specific Training:

National Training Courses:

New Products

 

Starting in the summer of fiscal year 2009, the Institute plans to begin offering EEO training via the web. These webinar training sessions will feature important and current EEO topics. After issuance of agency regulations, the Institute will also develop and offer half-day training sessions throughout the country on the new ADA Amendments Act. The Training Institute currently offers a series of national courses geared toward federal employees. Thirty-three federal sector course events were conducted during fiscal year 2008. Two new federal sector courses will be offered in fiscal year 2009, a basic course on Management Directive 715 and an Advanced Barrier Analysis course. The Customer-Specific Training Program trains employees, managers, supervisors and human resource professionals from large, mid-size and small employers about their EEO responsibilities and how to prevent and correct workplace discrimination. Standardized courses are available and we design customized courses that are delivered at employers’ worksites. During fiscal year 2008, 414 private sector and 173 federal sector customized events were completed and a similar number of events is anticipated in 2009. An annual national federal sector conference, the Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws (EXCEL) Conference, has become a widely anticipated and highly acclaimed event for Federal EEO managers, attorneys, union officials, EEO professionals and EEO staff. The fiscal year 2008 conference, held in Chicago, had 1,000 attendees, the highest level of participation in the eleven-year history of the EXCEL Conference. The one and two-day TAP Seminars offered by the Training Institute are responsive to employers’ information and training needs and allow EEOC to educate substantially more employers and employees about how to identify, prevent and eliminate workplace discrimination. In fiscal year 2008, 44 TAP Seminars and 9 half-day workshops were held and 39 are planned for fiscal year 2009.

 

 

EEOC recently reported on the processes it uses to enforce anti-discrimination and certain other laws within the federal workforce. The portion of a budget document dealing with those issues follows.

Federal Sector Enforcement

Our Federal sector program has a unique role in promoting equal opportunity in the federal workplace by ensuring that all Federal applicants and employees subject to discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, disability or genetic information. The Commission fulfills this mandate through our hearings and appellate enforcement efforts, as well by exercising our oversight authority and providing guidance, outreach and technical assistance. We will also continue to promote mediation/ADR at all levels of the Federal sector EEO complaint process in order to resolve workplace disputes early, thereby saving resources and enabling agencies to focus on their core missions.

Using the guidance and principles contained in MD-715, the Commission will evaluate the progress of federal agencies in creating effective equal employment opportunity programs. We will review and provide feedback on agencies’ annual MD-715 report submissions, which are designed to identify and remove barriers to free and open competition in the workplace. With the implementation of MD-715 and our focus on establishing effective relationship management programs with agencies, we will deliver relevant and helpful information, training, and EEO solutions to Federal agencies.

In furtherance of our goals to provide more expeditious hearings case processing, we have successfully piloted an electronic case management system that will store all hearings decisions produced by administrative judges and allow for the electronic filing of hearings complaints. The electronic library system permits administrative judges to have immediate access to nationwide decisions with similar issues. Also, our electronic filing pilot which has been expanded to more EEOC offices in fiscal year 2009 promotes uniformity in the filing of hearings complaints among agencies and the processing of these complaints by administrative judges. Additionally, we will continue to build on our quality standards initiative and annual review first implemented in fiscal year 2007 that are designed to promote consistency in hearings decisions, case processing and resolution across all of our field offices. We also plan to implement a three-track hearings case management process, wherein administrative judges will prioritize and track cases into fast, regular or complex discovery/pre-hearing tracks, based on the level of complexity of each case.

Through EEOC’s Federal Sector Enforcement Hearings, there have been significant results involving cases in which there were findings of class-wide discrimination. Since fiscal year 2005, there have been a total of twelve merit class case resolutions that resulted in awards totaling over $86 million in monetary benefits for more than 33,000 class members. Among these resolutions have been: a large sexual harassment case involving 85 class members who shared in the settlement of over $9 million; a class case settlement for $11.5 million that involved 400 members; an ADEA class case involving discriminatory directed reassignments of older employees that settled for $2.2 million for approximately 30 class members; and a complex disability class action case involving discriminatory promotion and advancement opportunities that settled for over $61 million.

Table 8 shows the overall hearing inventory for fiscal years 2008 through 2013.

 

 

Federal Sector Improvements – Hearings

Our appellate review program adjudicates appeals of administrative decisions made by federal agencies on complaints of employment discrimination filed by federal employees or applicants for federal employment. By streamlining operations, utilizing technology, and adopting performance management strategies, since fiscal year 2000 the Commission has managed its appellate inventory in an efficient and effective manner.

Table 9 and Chart 4 show the appellate workload from fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2013. Further, the table and chart demonstrate that the appellate inventory will remain at acceptable levels during this period.

 

Chart 4: Federal Sector Appeals Received, Resolved, and Ending Inventory for Fiscal Years 2008 through 2013

 

 

Chart 3: Hearings Workload Received, Resolved, and Pending for Fiscal Years 2008 through 2013

 

Federal Sector Programs

Appeals and Oversight of Federal EEO Programs